~From Sister Jenny

Standard

This is Amy’s little sister, Jenny, here! Amy dearest is on her honeymoon and has requested that I keep her blog alive while she is away. I took her up on this with no problem:)

Amy’s wedding was seriously beautiful. But I’m sure when she is back in blogging mode she will give you a wonderful description of it–so I won’t steal her thunder:)

PicMonkey Collage

I am so thankful that Amy came home a month before her wedding so that we could have some sister time together before she moved away to the far off lands of Alaska! It was so much fun to get to hang out–doing our hair and makeup together, sharing clothes, drinking coffee, and watching girl movies together. Amy really is such a great sister–and friend! I am going to miss having her around, but I am so excited for her new adventures to start in Alaska with her awesome new husband Adam! They are precious together:)

Anyways, I know this isn’t my blog–but thanks for reading anyways:)

I have a blog here if you want to check it out!

Good night all!

Christmas, Counting Down, and a Brand New Year

Standard

These past few weeks have been busy, busy it seems- and blogging has slipped from its spot on the priority list to make room for some other more important things at this time of life- like FAMILY, and WEDDING, and ADAM!  :)
I am stealing a bit of time on this snowy morning before the wedding weekend begins tomorrow and we start the daunting task of packing today. (the more I pack, I think the worse I get! :(

Image

2013 has ended- and 2014 has begun!  This will be a year FILLED with changes for me and my man!
Marriage, here we come in just 3 days!
Moving to Alaska following our honeymoon…..Lots of adjustments coming up and new things.  But, so happy to be making those changes following a God who is gracious and good, and with Adam, whom I love!
You never quite know what each new year will hold…..I spent this last new year- ringing in 2013 in the middle of Africa!
Adam and I went for dinner with friends last night and spent a bit of time sharing things that we have learned this year….I hadn’t thought about it much at that point, but I think verbalizing it helped me really see how precious what I have learned has been.  I said the thing that has made the biggest impact on my heart this year is that God is Sure.  Through the good, the bad, the hard, the easy times….God is there, He is good, He’s in control, He cares, and He is a Firm Foundation.

For 2014 I made a column list of Less and More as my New Year’s Resolutions……writing down things that I want less of in my life (struggles that I have), and things I want more of in my life (things I want to strive towards).
Ultimately- building my life….and soon my married life with Adam on Christ as our Cornerstone!
One of my very favorite songs recently has been “Jesus Firm Foundation”  – He is the only One to build our life on!

Backtracking a bit- I have to share some photos of Christmas with my family:

Image

Making Peanut Butter Balls!  :)  This is a Christmas tradition- and they are delicious!  Glad to have been home to do it this year with Kevin and Jenny!

Image

My handsome Fiance and I on Christmas!  LOVED having here with my family to get to know everyone better, and to celebrate Christ’s birth with us!

Image

It was SO fun to have David, Tricia, and my nephew Brayden with us this year….little kids always make Christmas more fun!

ImageImage

Christmas tradition- we take turns opening presents- and if you are opening them- you have to wear the santa hat!

ImageImage

It was a sweet time with family….and we felt really blessed this Christmas!

Now- wedding time!  This again will be the last post for a while with everything going on- but I am excited to share our wedding story on the blog in a couple weeks!  God is so good, and we are so thankful to be beginning this new stage of life in a few days!

ImageImage

Places

Standard

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking today of the many places I have been able to travel this year, and about the impact each of them have had on my life.  So many adventures, and lots of travel.  I am so thankful for that season of life in 2013….and looking forward to a year of staying put in 2014!
wildlife

 

Kenya-

Nileboat                                 Uganda-

rwandascene2                                  Rwanda-

amylondon                                London-

DSCN2975                               The Grand Canyon, AZ-

DSCN2990                                Port Alsworth, Alaska-

IMG_0682                                Ogallala, NE-

In each of these vastly different places in the world….I learned things, I was challenged with things, and I have good memories of things that God did in my life.
Loved having these milestones in my life, and these different seasons.  Some were sweet, some were scary, some were hard, and others were pure joy.  That’s life, and it’s so nice to be able to look back and see how faithful the Lord has been.  I pray that as you look back on the different chapters and seasons of your life in 2013….you are able to draw hope from where God has brought you, and the path He has lead you on.  I am anxious and hopeful to serve Him better, and to KNOW Him better in 2014.  If I make no other resolution than that…..I want to know Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherished

Standard

Image

I don’t know what book this is from, but I think it is powerful.  An awareness of the grace of God in our lives is so crucial to knowing our identity, and to the way that we treat others.

“Though I am flawed, I am cherished.”

I have often thought of insecurities in my life…things that I am sensitive about, that really, they are crippling.  It seems like getting caught up in things that are hard for you to accept about yourself will totally stop you in your tracks.  It’s an easy rut to get stuck in.

Truth is….we are flawed, we are not perfect- but we were created in the image of a perfect God.

At church this week- someone said….”I don’t think we really understand grace”.  I think that is true….as much as I want to, I am not sure I can truly wrap my head around the grace that God has for me.

Shame says….You are not enough. You don’t quite match up. You will never get there.

Grace says…..You are my child.  You are loved.  I have redeemed you.  You are created by me, and cherished by me.

All too often- I get caught up in selfishness, focusing on me, on my attributes, or my faults.
Focusing on the Lord is really the right step.  He is enough!  He is perfect, and holy, and able. He is always, He is love, He is grace.  He is on our side, He is above our thoughts and our hopes.  He is victorious, He is more than I can imagine.
There are a couple of ways to think about it….. am cherished……or HE cherishes me.

Both are awesome….knowing that amongst everyone on the whole earth….God personally loves and cares about ME!  But also- the God of the whole world, creator, keeper, redeemer……cherishes me.

I hope today you can feel encouraged- knowing that you are valued and loved by the One who created you!

Gifting, a burden or a blessing?

Standard

Since I have a big family- we do not always buy every person a gift every year- but usually what we do is draw names around Thanksgiving and buy that one person a gift.  It’s usually a competition to see who can figure out who has who by Christmas day….and it’s always been a fun tradition that we have had.

I find that I really enjoy giving gifts to people when I know that they can really use them and that they will be a blessing to them.  I know how much I have appreciated certain gifts that I have gotten- and it’s a great blessing to be able to give something to someone, knowing how much they will enjoy and appreciate it.

It’s when I can’t figure out ANYTHING to get for someone, that it becomes a burden.  I hate giving people things that I feel like will just clutter their lives.  So, it definitely takes some creativity in gifting to figure out something really practical.

Each year in our Christmas stockings…..my parents put in tooth brushes- and although that might sound boring- I LOVE it!  Who wants to have to buy their own toothbrush really? :)
Some of my FAVORITE practical gifts I have gotten:  (in no certain order)

  • a pair of earrings my older sister got me…..I could be happy wearing them everyday.
  • a north face backpack my older brother got me before I graduated high school…..it’s been all over the world, and still hanging in there!
  • a pair of minnetonka’s my parents got me a few years ago……I love slippers.
  • a french press from my sister as a bridesmaid gift….the best coffee.
  • a tennis racket from my brother….such a good sport!
  • a warm, fuzzy blanket that my sister in law got me.  I have moved around so much, and haven’t always been able to take it with me….so when I came home this time and packed it up in a tote- I was SO happy to see it again!  I will make good use of it in Alaska!

Christmas is by no means just about gifts- but I love that gifts can be a beautiful symbol of the incredible gift we have in Christ.  Gifts do take some sacrifice….planning, buying, wrapping, giving,…..and that’s on such a small scale of the greatest gift we could ever receive!
I hope this Christmas, giving gifts can be a blessing for you and not a burden.  Give not out of guilt or expectation….but out of joy and grace!

—A few photos from the weekend:

IMG_2601

 

-a very COLD Christmas parade!

IMG_2607

 

-Jenny and I are on the same wave length….sisters are the best!

IMG_2625

 

-got my wedding dress so I can get married in 25 days!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

-this weather has been truly cold…..but there is something about a brisk walk in December….

For your Sunday- The Joy of Christmas

Standard

Image

I love that the true JOY of Christmas begins with a beautiful baby born two thousand years ago in the middle east…..a baby boy that is God, and made Himself to come in human form.  Our God, who is great in glory and might, and humbles Himself to become a baby….our story is already beautiful! But there is incredible joy in knowing that’s not where it ends!  This beautiful baby was born for a purpose……the Salvation of all mankind!
One of my favorite Christmas songs this season has been “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham and Jeremy Riddle.  And you may be thinking….umm, not sure that’s a Christmas song?  But, in my mind, it totally is.  Jesus came as a baby for the purpose of redemption.  And it doesn’t stop at Him being born, or him dying our death on the cross…..but begins at the resurrection- Christ conquering death, and giving us life.

My biggest joy this season is the Salvation that I have in Christ- and I desperately hope that is your joy as well!  The greatest gift we could ever receive is a right relationship with God.  That is the true beauty and hope in Christmas.  Jesus was born, that we might receive eternal life.

He humbled Himself, He fulfilled prophecy, He was misunderstood and mistreated, He was tortured and falsely accused, He was killed…..and He ROSE AGAIN!

“I have come so that they may life….and have it to the full!”  ~John 10:10

I hope that beyond the Christmas music, the gifts, the cold weather, and the yummy food….all of us are able to keep in good perspective what we are really celebrating, and to be able to share that with others!  Merry Christmas!

 

Sister Post- Pinterest Success

Standard

sisterpost

I have been thinking about lately what an enormous time waster Pinterest is…….IF you don’t actually put it into practice and use it as a resource.  I admit that at times, it’s tempting for me to sit on pinterest looking at cute outfits, fun crafts, or photos of places I would like to visit.  I don’t know about any of you…..but all that really does for me is to create a sense of greed…like the clothes I have now, or how I am currently decorating my home is not good enough.

I think though, that in this day in age- we have an incredible RESOURCE in the internet, if we use it properly.  To look on pinterest for a recipe, a workout routine, an outfit idea, or a craft project- and to actually DO it…..is very productive I think!
Pinterest is also a great place to store ideas……so I am definitely not against it, I am just advocating DOING what you find on pinterest!
Jenny and I decided to share something that we saw on pinterest and decided to DO- and we’ll show you how it turned out! Check out her successes over on her blog!

Since I am about to be a married woman…I couldn’t very well run a household without an apron, now could I?  So, I decided to recycle a skirt I bought this summer for .50 cents and never wore (actually a nice, really cute skirt, originally from Target…but I just didn’t really like it as a skirt), and make it into an apron!
IMG_2552

I got the general instructions from a site from Pinterest…..but kind of had to make a bit of it up on my own…I just cut the zipper in the back down the middle and layed the skirt out flat.

IMG_2553

Then I just decided the shape-hemmed the sides, and sewed on ties that I made from fabric I cut of the sides……and there it is!

DSCN3255

I really like the way it turned out!

Also, take my lovely Mom for example……she saw a cute Christmas craft on Pinterest, and recreated it for our house!  Love the way it turned out!

1472191_10151907983504888_875793734_n

 

1469903_10151908003979888_1788217541_n

So, next time you’re on pinterest- pick something- and actually TRY it!  Hope it turns out awesome!